4 Ways to Get Involved with Your Church’s Vacation Bible School

We’re in the full swing of Vacation Bible School (VBS) season. There are many different formats that churches use for VBS. You might have an evening, after school, afternoon, or morning format. Regardless of what format you follow, VBS requires a lot of help from church members. And it is never too late to volunteer! Also, there are creative ways that you can help with VBS, even if you are not able to attend the event yourself.

Here are four ways that you can help with VBS this season.

1. Volunteer

There is always a need for volunteers for VBS. Every VBS needs first-aid, security, music team, drama team, games team and group counselors. If you are able to pull away to help, then you are a gift to your church. Not only that but your church might just need someone who is simply willing to shuttle kids from one place to another. That in itself is a simple and easy way to help get kids with transportation difficulties to and from VBS.

School teachers are ideal candidates because they have summers off, but there are a number of other professions that might lend themselves to helping with VBS. Emergency response personnel often have flexible schedules. Self-employed business owners typically have margin to pull away for such an event as this. Finally, those who work the second or third shift will have freedom to join VBS for a week. If you’re a Children’s director, look for these people in your congregation and kindly appeal for their help.

In my ten years of VBS experience, it always seems to be a week that desperately needs some fathers hanging around. Fathers, I encourage you to look carefully at your work calendar and see if you can navigate some personal days, vacation days, or comp days to use towards VBS.

2. Pray

So maybe you aren’t able to go to VBS, here’s one way that you can still help. Pray leading up to the week that the Lord would bring a number of little ones to himself. Pray for the volunteers, staff, and families that will be going to VBS. Pray that everyone will experience VBS mercies during that week. There will always be bumps and scrapes, but let’s pray that there will be no broken bones or worse. Pray that everyone will be in good spirits and get plenty of rest during this very busy week. Pray that the Lord will be celebrated and glorified as the gospel is preached and the Bible is explained clearly to little kiddos.

3. Donate

Every VBS needs supplies for snacks, crafts and games. This is another way to help if you can’t make it out for the event. Contact your VBS director to find out what the needs are and see how you can help meet those needs. You don’t want those kiddos to run out of Oreos, Goldfish, Capri Sun, or construction paper!

4. Invite

So you don’t have kids that are VBS age. Well, you have the opportunity to participate by inviting others to VBS. Canvas your neighborhood with fliers. Call up friends from work. Maybe you have a son or daughter not involved in a church right now. Invite their family to participate. You might just meet someone while you’re doing errands or maybe you’re a patron of someone who has children. Encourage these people to check out your VBS. You might just want to keep fliers with you in your vehicle or at home so that you can pass them out to whomever the Lord leads you to.


VBS is so much fun! I’ve been helping out with VBS for a few years now. It started when I was a youth pastor and had the flexibility to volunteer. It was also a great way to spend time with our teens that I shepherded who were also volunteers. This year is the first year I get to participate in VBS with my children. I’m so glad that I have time available to be a part of this ministry. If you have never helped with a VBS, I encourage you to pray about participating in the VBS at your church. It’s such a fantastic ministry opportunity!

View-Worthy: 7.22.14


N for Solidarity, Confessing Sin to One Another, Christian Eschatology & Planet of the Apes, 7 Ways to Read Books.


Douglas Farrow. “N” is for Solidarity. (First Things)

Breitbart News reports Sebastian Gorka’s claim that last week the Islamic State in Mosul “painted the letter ‘N’ for Nazarene on the houses of all the surviving Christians in the city.” ISIS, he says, “has basically given an ultimatum to all the Christians left: You can either flee or convert to Islam, or we will kill you.”

Deal of the Day

The Gospel as Center edited by Carson and Keller $2.99

Book Review

Mark Sayers. Facing Leviathan. Reviewed by Kevin Cawley.


Nicholas Batzig. The Dangers and Duty of Confessing Sin to One Another. (Reformed Forum)

“Open Confession is good for the soul,” or so the maxim goes. Perhaps it might also be said, “Open Confession is  good for your relationship with God and men.” While Scripture supports both of these statements, there is something of a haze that lays across the surface of the meaning of such statements in Scripture as, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

Russell Moore. Christian Eschatology and the Planet of the Apes. (Christianity.com)

Just because you don’t preach and teach about the Christian vision of the future, that doesn’t mean your church is void of eschatology. It means your church is picking up an eschatology from somewhere else, sometimes from the local cineplex.

A Christian vision of the future proves the dystopian movies to be right, in some sense. There’s a fire being kindled somewhere, and not even the Statue of Liberty can withstand it. But, after that, there’s the kind of new creation that makes everything new.

Tim Challies. 7 Different Ways to Read a Book.

Reading is kind of like repairing a bicycle. Kind of. For too long now my bike has been semi-operational. It has one brake that just doesn’t want to behave and all my attempts to fix it have failed. Why? Well it turns out that I haven’t been using the right tool. To get the bike working I need to use the right tool. And when it comes to reading, well, you’ve got to use the right tool—you’ve got to know what kind of reading to do. Here are seven different kinds of reading.


Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

“All wickedness flows from a disregard of God.” John Calvin

Jesus Hates Religion by Alex Himaya

jesushatesreligionThis review first appeared at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web-blog.


Alex Himaya. Jesus Hates Religion: Finding Grace in a Works-Driven Culture. Nashville: B&H, 2014. 172 pp. $14.99.


Christian Life


Alex Himaya is the pastor of a fast-growing church, theCHURCH.at in Tulsa Oklahoma, and he hates religion. In his new book, Jesus Hates Religion, Himaya says, “I don’t hate religion because of what it did to me. I hate it because of what it didn’t do.” According to Himaya: a past Coptic, Catholic, Episcopalian, and now Baptist – religion leads to a works based approach to God defined as: “A man-made path to God.”

The time of Himaya’s life when he pursued religion is the time he missed Jesus. Essentially, religion did not give him Jesus; it gave him works. It forced him to try to be good enough. Arguing against religion, he says, “It’s not about you being “good” enough…it’s about God being enough. Period.”

In order to validate his polemic against religion, Himaya shares his experiences, commentary on grace-oriented texts, and anecdotal stories illustrating these texts in order to dissuade readers from loving religion rather than grace.

Here is a concise summary of the books argument. Chapter two puts religion in context. Chapters three and four cover two dead ends: self and religion. Chapter five sets a path to Jesus through grace. Chapters six and seven deter us from two religious paths: legalism and inferiority. Chapter eight encourages us to discover our identity as saints. Chapters nine and ten dissuade us from two more paths: guilt and works. Chapter eleven recalibrates us to approach works not for favor but in response to favor. And chapter twelve concludes by putting a love for grace within the context of evangelism.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Jesus Hates Religion helps anyone suffering from the clutches of legalism. This book assists those curious about Jesus by presenting him in light of the gospel of grace. Give this book to “Seekers” and recent Christ-followers. They will appreciate Jesus Hates Religion most.

Himaya, in simple terms, explains complex doctrines like law and gospel, union with Christ, repentance, and predestination. He also makes space to explain a few Greek terms for the benefit of readers. I commend him for this effort. Jesus Hates Religion faithfully articulates the gospel and emphasizes the crucial component of identity in Christ.

Only two places gave pause for concern. I think Himaya unnecessarily subordinates predestination under the doctrine of foreknowledge. I also fear he risks leading readers down a path towards antinomianism by not articulating the function of the law after conversion. I admit, the objective of this book is not to instruct on holiness after conversion but to free people from a works based approach to salvation; I will not fault him for silence.

Himaya portrays a sincere and intentional pastoral sensitivity throughout Jesus Hates Religion. His gentle but direct appeals for readers to get out from under the thumb of performance-based living is admirable. This book is a great encouragement to those who require freedom from legalism, inferiority, guilt, and works. Jesus Hates Religion boldly stands against the performance driven world and frees us from succumbing to its allure.


Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By


Jesus Hates Religion rescues readers from a mundane life of works and places them into the grip of God’s grace.

View-Worthy: 7.21.14


Reading Scripture, Pastoral Searches, Phone Distractions, Marital Counseling Questions.


Dan Phillips. The Public Reading of Scripture: Ten Pointed Pointers.

While there are many and excellent books about preaching, and plenty about music and singing, and truckloads about praying, there is less of any prominence about this facet of the worship of God. I’m sure others have blogged about it, but I keep learning that some of the most helpful posts are about fairly basic issues. So we offer here a few brief and pointed pointers about the public reading of Scripture.

Deal of the Day

Learning Evangelism from Jesus by Jerram Barrs $2.99

Book Review

Jen Wilkin. Women of the Word. Reviewed by Karen Hodge. (TGC)


Thom Rainer. Five Pleas from Pastors to Pastor Search Committees.

Congregations across America call pastors to their churches in a variety of ways. As church polity varies, so do the approaches of calling a pastor. A bishop or other authority appoints some pastors. Sometimes an elder board decides who will be considered as the next pastor. Many times, however, the responsibility for recommending a pastor to a congregation falls upon a pastor search committee.

Jonathan Pearson. 3 Times We Need to Put Our Phone Down. (FaithVillage)

It doesn’t seem like a big deal 99% of the time, but the other 1% it’s a huge deal.

You see, sometimes I like my iPhone . . . too much. For the most part, I’m good at using it as just a tool. I use it to make phone calls, make notes, organize, communicate and be productive. The other times, I use it to kill time or play an occasional game. All of that is fine. All of that is in the 99% of the time that it’s not a big deal.

Jeremy Lelek. Ten Simple (But Critical) Questions to Consider in Marriage Counseling. (ABC)

I am going to be using these question in future assessments for marital counseling. Check them out.


Romans 6:11 “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

“No sin against God is little, because it is sin against the great God of heaven and earth.” John Bunyan

Does Your Tribe Use These Sexy Buzzwords to Connect? Why It’s Time to Stop (ChurchLeadersDOTcom Guest Post)

There are four words that I’d like to strike from our Christian conversations. There are probably more, but these four keep coming to my mind.

They’re kind of buzzwords these days. They are the following businessy terms: connect, tribe, sexy and brand.

Here’s how they get used.

Connect: “Hey bro, it was so nice to connect with you today.”

Tribe: “Yeah man, I’m part of that reformed tribe, if you know what I mean.”

Sexy: “Well, having Sunday school isn’t really a sexy way to do church.”

Brand: “I really am having a hard time developing my brand.”

It’s true these terms are most frequently used by pastors, and they love using them at conferences. In fact, I practically drown in this trendy lingo any time I interact at a conference.

Sadly, I am now seeing these terms trickle down into everyday Christian conversation about everyday Christianity with everyday Christian folk. Pastors have popularized this terminology through their Christian books, blogs, social media and word-of-mouth usage.

And I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve found myself, at times, caught up in the game.


View-Worthy: 7.18.14


Big Bang Problems, Sin Projection, Church Disillusionment, Recapping Sermons w/Kids.


Julie Borg. The Big Bang’s Big Problem Bedevils Researchers. (WORLD)

If the Big Bang theory is correct, our universe should not exist, according to research published last month by physicists at King’s College in London. The shocking discovery implies the universe should have collapsed less than a second after it exploded into existence.

Deal of the Day

The Storytelling God by Jared Wilson $0.99

Book Review

Eric Metaxas. Amazing Grace. Reviewed by Linda Finlayson.


Tim Challies. Behavior Both Odd and Ugly.

I am a sinner. And as a sinner I exhibit all kinds of behaviors both odd and ugly. The more I come to know myself, the more I see the ways in which I am a product of my sin, in which I view the world through the lens of my sin. When I look outward, and when I look at others, I see them through sinful eyes and interpret them through a sinful mind. As I do that, I fall into the trap of sin projection.

Jason Helopoulos. Disillusionment with the Church.

I would contend that many of our disillusions with the church are based upon a wrong ethic. We misunderstand the true nature of fellowship in the gospel community. And therefore, we wrongly apply the ethic of other communities to the church.

Joe Holland. 8 Tips to Talk to Your Kids about the Sermon.

Let me introduce you to the most important rule when talking to your kids about a sermon: They retain more than you think they do. The second most important rule is like it: They understand more than you think they do.


Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

“Every yielding to sin is a welcoming of Satan into our very bosom.” Thomas Brooks

10 Quotes from PROOF by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones

ProofI reviewed this book some time ago here, but now I’d like to share some of my favorite insights offered. So here are 10 quotes from this book:

1. “Grace matters to us because we’ve seen over and over how people’s lives are changed when they drink deeply from this thirst-quenching well. Grace matters because we’ve tasted it — just a bit — and found that only grace satisfies” (19).

2. “When a church proclaims God’s undiluted grace, the deadly delusions of human religion are drowned in a flood of gospel-fueled freedom and intoxicating joy” (23).

3. “The message of planned grace begins with the truth that God is a loving Father who chose us personally and specifically before time began” (33).

4. “Your salvation was secured from beginning to end through a single-handed work of sovereign love” (58).

5. “No one should be written out of God’s story, because no one…is too dead to be made alive” (60).

6. “God’s choice to adopt us as his children had nothing to do with anything we might do and everything to do with what God determined to do before time began” (76).

7. “Outrageous grace isn’t a favor you can achieve by being good: it’s the gift you receive by being God’s” (83).

8. “Some people experience God’s saving grace like a flower that buds slowly over time. For others…grace is a volcanic eruption that hurls them to the ground without warning and rearranges their lives” (100).

9. “Forever grace means that God preserves us in his grace and that we persevere by this same grace” (111).

10. “Perseverance is not perfection; it is a new direction” (116).

View-Worthy: 7.17.14


Unsafe Sex, Evangelism as Practice, Personal Testimonies & Evangelism, Inerrancy.


Andrew Branch. Unsafe Sex: Planned Parenthood’s advice for teens. (WORLD)

Two new investigative videos from pro-life activists show Planned Parenthood workers giving underage girls advice about sadomasochistic sex. The discussions included topics such as bondage, asphyxiation, and whipping.

Undercover investigators with the pro-life group Live Action have received similar advice at each of seven Planned Parenthood centers they visited, communications director Drew Belsky told me. Live Action wants legislators to eliminate taxpayer funding for sex education at Planned Parenthood.

Deal of the Day

The Great Evangelical Recession by John S Dickerson $1.99.

Book Review

Hannah Anderson. Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image. Reviewed by Wendy Alsup. (TGC)


Jesse Johnson. Evangelism as Practice, Not a Program.

A few years ago, when I was an outreach pastor at Grace Church in Los Angeles, I was at a meeting with a group of outreach pastors from other large churches in the country. The topic was what our churches do to transform our communities. When the question about what we “do for evangelism” was lobbed my way, I knew what the expected answer would look like: a list of programs. People around the table, many of them pastors at some of the most extreme program-driven and seeker-sensitive churches in the country, looked over to me. They were curious about what Pastor MacArthur’s church does to impact our community.

Richard Phillips. Should We Use Our Personal Testimony in Evangelism? (Ligonier)

A personal testimony does not replace a biblical proclamation about Jesus, but it is an important complement. And it requires that we have a close relationship with the Lord. If we are not excited about God’s Word, if we are not warmed by close fellowship with God, and if we are not humbled by Christ’s suffering on the cross for our sins, we will not be very effective witnesses. Yet it is essential that we be able to give such a witness.

Dave Jenkins. Teaching, Feelings, Opinions, or the Inerrancy of the Bible. (Servants of Grace)

Christians have a superior Word than what is offered by human opinion. The Church has a superior Word because of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the reason why His Word is inspired, inerrant, sufficient and authoritative. It is because of this reason that Christians should dedicate their entire lives and ministries lives to studying, proclaiming, contending, and defending the Truth for all of their days.


2 Timothy 4:5 “Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

“Always and everywhere the servants of Christ are under order to evangelize.” J I Packer


Five Books on the Lord’s Supper

Finding the best books to read on a subject of theology can be a challenge. This series provides suggested resources for topics of Theology. Each title is linked to Amazon, if available. If you have another title to suggest for this area of study, please comment. I’m always happy to add another work to my library.

Here are 5 books that will launch you into studies on the Lord’s Supper.

1. The Lord’s Supper by Thomas Schreiner and Matthew Crawford

2. The Lord’s Supper: Eternal Word in Broken Bread by Robert Letham

3. Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre

4. Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord’s Supper by Ben Witherington III

5. The Lord’s Supper by Thomas Watson

View-Worthy: 7.16.14


Free to Be a Christian College, Female Modesty, Earnest Preaching, Biblical Theology/Identity/Discipleship.


Denny Burk. Are Christian Colleges Free to Be Christian?

Are Christian colleges still free to be Christian in this country? You may think that an unserious question, but if you’ve been paying attention to recent events surrounding Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, you know it’s a very pressing question indeed.

Deal of the Day

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever $0.99

Book Review

Nate Larkin. Samson and the Pirate Monks. Reviewed by Tim Challies.


Jani Ortlund. Modesty, Beauty, and Men. Why Should We Care? (True Woman)

We live in a day of exhibitionism, and summer exaggerates the desire for more skin to be shown. Yet, our appearance is one of the most powerful ways we have of sending a message about the condition of our hearts. Do we ever ask ourselves, “What message am I sending?” We hear exhortations to be modest in the way we dress. With different opinions swirling around about necklines and skirt length, how should we understand biblical modesty?

Joe Thorn. 4 Characteristics of Earnest Preaching. (Christward Collective)

I have always been drawn to those who can speak with creativity and with conviction. This was true before my conversion, and is especially true today. Since my conversion, I find myself hungering to hear the word preached. When it comes to preaching, there are two basic things that I want to hear from a preacher: the word of God andearnestness. If he doesn’t bring the word of God, he has nothing to say. If he isn’t earnest, I’m tempted to not believe him. As I evaluate my own preaching, and coach other preachers, I find that earnestness is one of the areas that needs the most attention. A man’s earnestness in preaching is often the hand that grips the hearer and brings him along side the preacher to the truth proclaimed.

Michael Lawrence. Biblical Theology, Identity, and Discipling. (9 Marks)

Identity matters. It matters in our culture, which is awash in identity politics and the unimpeachable claims that identity provides. And it matters among Christians. We call people to live up to and live out the reality of who they are in Christ: an alien and stranger, salt and light, a member of the body of Christ or bride of Christ, a temple of the Spirit, a new creation, and so on.  We encourage one another to put on the new self.


1 Timothy 2:9 “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.”

“Modesty is the lifeguard of chastity.” Thomas Fuller